Which of these ruined my batch?

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InspectorJon

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I rinse my bottles very well with hot tap water immediately after pouring a beer and let them drain upside down until dry. I store them upside down. On bottling day I put them upside down in the dishwasher on the "sanitize" cycle and bottle right into those bottles. I read this in another thread here so others do it successfully. I have been doing this for a long time with no issues.

The dishwasher is a pretty good but not top of the line appliance with a stainless steel interior. It has a sanitize setting so I assume that is hotter than the normal hot temperature. I have not tested the temperature but it is hot enough to burn my hand if I open the machine immediately after the cycle ends. I run the dishwasher empty through a rinse cycle before putting the bottles in to get rid of any stray particles that may be in the machine.
 

eric19312

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When I bottled my process was to rinse bottles well after drinking and dry on bottling tree. On bottling day I put one gallon mixed starsan in a 5 gallon bucket with a vinerator. Each bottle got 2 squirts starsan about 2-5 min before filled. Let what drains out right away drain out rest becomes part of the beer.

This worked fine and I had no bottle infections.
 

tellyho

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Huh, never had a contaminated batch, but I don't bottle much anymore.

After drinking, I wash bottles with my dishes (dish soap - I know, not the best). They get stored in my dusty-ass basement.

On bottling day, they get soaked in a bucket of star San, then upside down in my dishwasher to wait for fill.

All bottling equipment gets a dip in the star San.

All in all, I'd say I'm on the casual side of sterilization and have never had a problem. I think a piece of your equipment is contaminated. I'd replace autosiphon, hose and bottling wand. Probably bottling bucket and spigot as well, if you really want to be sure.
 

Vintage Iron

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After working through an infection here, I just realized that this piece comes off the bottom of the inner racking cane. I've used this for at least 10 batches without ever removing it! "Maybe" it gets cleaned without taking it apart, but it will always be taken down from here on out. You'll want to make sure you're removing this piece when cleaning/sanitizing.

IMG_6641.jpg


On a related note, I believe the infection we had here was due to using an old package of (wet) yeast. I tend to be a germ-a-phobe by nature, so my usual cleaning/sanitizing routine tends to be pretty thorough. Regarding my batch that got infected...two days after pitching the bad yeast, nothing was happening and I probably should have pitched that extra pack of SO-5 I keep in the fridge, but didn't. Finally, fermentation began but I think it was a wild yeast that took over. Not only was that batch ruined, but the next batch was also ruined because I used the same fermenter. Even though I used Star San (mixed slightly over strength) it didn't kill off whatever was in my plastic big mouth fermenter. After a lot of research, I found this:

6f0487b9-6815-46c5-a5d6-9080b4fbea5c.JPG


So over Thanksgiving break, I went through everything with a bleach soak as mentioned above. Now two batches have been brewed and all is well. I would highly recommend you give all of your plastic gear the bleach/campden treatment to mitigate any future infections/wild yeast. Whatever you do, do NOT allow any bleach solution to get mixed with star-san. It will create nasty fumes. (acid vs. base)

Keep in mind that sanitizer, whether star san or bleach, is only as good as your initial cleaning routine. Any particulates that get caught in your equipment will be a spot that doesn't get sanitized. It is important that things are clean and debris free before you sanitize. Good luck!
 
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RPh_Guy

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After a lot of research, I found this:
This screenshot is all nonsense.

Acidic sanitizers like Star San and Iodophor ARE effective against both yeast and bacteria.

The process he describes is not using bleach as a sanitizer. A sanitizer is applied immediately before use, and not rinsed.
What he's actually doing is attempting to use it as a cleanser, but bleach is NOT an effective cleanser because it does not remove or penetrate biofilms.
Keep in mind that sanitizer, whether star san or bleach, is only as good as your initial cleaning routine. Any particulates that get caught in your equipment will be a spot that doesn't get sanitized. It is important that things are clean and debris free before you sanitize.
Yes, this.

This is what I recommend:
  • Water rinse immediately after use.
  • Take things apart.
  • Soak in hot PBW (removes organic matter).
  • Water rinse.
  • Acid rinse (removes inorganic matter).
  • Water rinse.
  • Dry.
  • Store.
  • Sanitize before and after assembling, immediately before use. Don't rinse.
 

Vintage Iron

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This screenshot is all nonsense.

Acidic sanitizers like Star San and Iodophor ARE effective against both yeast and bacteria.
Come on, it was on the internet, it HAS to be true! LOL . All kidding aside, I'm glad you chimed in on this. I'm a relative newbie to brewing (1.5 years) and have learned a TON by reading your posts on this forum, so I appreciate your insight. The "acid vs base" sanitizer discussion and it's interaction with yeast is something I will need to research further. I can say that this process did end my infection situation. Whether that was just a matter of chance or because of the bleach (base) soak is beyond me.

At the risk of getting off topic, can you clarify what you mean by an "Acid Rinse" in this 9-step process? I do all of these with the exception of that particular step, so I'm curious:

This is what I recommend:
  • Water rinse immediately after use.
  • Take things apart.
  • Soak in hot PBW (removes organic matter).
  • Water rinse.
  • Acid rinse (removes inorganic matter).
  • Water rinse.
  • Dry.
  • Store.
  • Sanitize before and after assembling, immediately before use. Don't rinse.
 

RPh_Guy

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The "acid vs base" sanitizer discussion and it's interaction with yeast is something I will need to research further.
Milk The Funk presents scientific information to debunk myths about Star San
http://www.milkthefunk.com/wiki/Quality_Assurance#Homebrew_cleaners_and_disinfectants

It's possible the bleach helped, but it's not needed and it's not as effective as other standard options.

For what it's worth, I also use one set of plastic equipment for all manner of wild microbes and also clean beers, so I want a very thorough cleaning and sanitation procedure.
can you clarify what you mean by an "Acid Rinse" in this 9-step process?
Rinsing with an acid removes inorganic residue. This make it so microbes can't as easily stick to the surface and it allows sanitizers to work more effectively.

This product is good:
https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/dairyland-sterosol-milkstone-remover-acid-rinse
It's phosphoric acid with a surfactant.

Citric acid is another option. 1Tbsp per gallon.

Just rinse your equipment with it in warm or room temp water, for maybe 5-20 minutes. It visibility reduces scaling left behind by the alkaline cleanser.

Cheers
 
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ESBrewer

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Avoid oxygen post fermentation (in the head space, possible leaks and so) and try to keep things covered and sanitized. The bottled water should be boiled. Those water jugs always have some microbes and if you are unlucky those bacteria/yeast may spoil it. But boiling it should kill all harmful things. Change the bottling wand and hoses (silicone tubing is handy cause you can boil it or even put it in the oven @170C to sanitize if it is made of high quality material). When bottling, adding a small amount (a few drops) of fresh yeast slurry to the bottles/beer can help with quality of the product and the speed of carbonation.
 

iancl

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Adding the bottled water without boiling and cooling could be the issue. Having a stale sour wet cardboard taste and smell may be a result of oxidation on the hot side, that gets bound up and not available to the yeast, but frees up post fermentation, creating that yucky taste after a few weeks. Look up “Hot side aeration”. Interesting stuff.
 

RPh_Guy

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Having a stale sour wet cardboard taste and smell may be a result of oxidation on the hot side, that gets bound up and not available to the yeast, but frees up post fermentation, creating that yucky taste after a few weeks.
This is totally inaccurate.
 

Froyd

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(Racked to 2ndary carboy after 4 days due to blowoff hose leak)
Just a thought, but maybe the rushed transfer left too much yeast behind to finish fermentation without creating off-flavors? Still, that would not explain your other ruined batches.

Somebody mentioned dark grains before. I'd keep an eye on the percentages those play in the total grain bill. I went too heavy on chocolate on a Porter and it tasted like cooked prunes...but definitely not acidic.
 

bkboiler

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How much stronger do you mix your star-san than the recommended ratio? That's what jumped out to me first when reading your original post.

Also, I did read this entire thread and there's very good content here (and I'm glad it sounds like your infection has gone away! )
 
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